7 Common Corgi Behavioral Problems & How to Solve Them

The most common Corgi behavioral problems are excessive barking, aggression, resource guarding, nipping, and herding. The best solution is to take the time to work through a training program with them.

Corgis are one of the most popular dog breeds in the US, and I can understand why. They’re sweet balls of fluff with little legs and big personalities – what’s not to love? But just because they’re small doesn’t mean they don’t need a lot of love, training, and exercise. Unfortunately, this is where many Corgi owners fall short (if you’ll excuse the pun). 

Some of the most common behavioral problems in Corgis tend to be things like food aggression, being excessively vocal, herding and nipping, and separation anxiety. While these can be tough to deal with, the right training techniques and a little patience go a long way. That’s why I’m here – to help you make your Corgi a star citizen and fix their attitude. 

As someone with lots of experience training Corgis and other herding dogs, I’m confident we can build the foundations to help you address these core problems. 

Corgi behavioral problems
Joshua Patton via Unsplash

Key Takeaways:

  • Corgis often have behavioral issues because owners underestimate the needs of the breed. 
  • Corgis are high-energy working dogs that need mental and physical stimulation. 
  • The most common Corgi behavioral problems are excessive barking, aggression, stubbornness, resource guarding, overexcitement, herding, nipping, and separation anxiety. 
  • Positive reinforcement training is the key to success. A trainer or behaviorist can help you pave the way to a happier dog (and a happier you). 
  • There are training tools to be avoided, like shock collars and choke chains. These are cruel and don’t get you positive long-term results. 

Why Do Corgis Have Behavioral Issues? 

Any dog can end up with behavioral issues, regardless of their breed. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t certain problems that some breeds struggle with more than others. When I talk to Corgi owners and help them out, there are some I see more frequently.

But why is this, and is it exclusive to Corgis? 

A lot of it comes down to the fact that people often treat Corgis like lap dogs. Now, while they do make the perfect snuggle buddies, it’s also important to remember that they are working dogs. As such, they have the traits associated with them. They’re high-energy dogs who need the correct mental and physical stimulation to stop them from going a bit loopy. 

You wouldn’t treat a Border Collie like a lapdog or a couch potato. And Corgis were bred for the same purpose – herding livestock. The difference is that Corgis are much smaller and fluffier, and that’s an aspect that people often associate with the cute little lapdogs. Even Pomeranians were bred for work, which is why so many have behavioral issues, but that’s a different topic.

Training is the key to success with any dog, but especially Corgis. They’re stubborn little creatures, and as much as I love them, they can be very willful and independent. These are good traits for a dog to have, but you need to learn to work together. That’s what training achieves. It’s not always easy, but good things never are. 

Corgi behavioral problems
Valentina D via Unsplash

7 Common Corgi Behavioral Problems and How to Fix Them

I could go through an entire list of canine behavioral problems and their solutions, but some are more exclusive to Corgis. These are the most common behavioral issues I’ve seen in our stumpy friends:

  1. Excessive barking
  2. Aggression
  3. Stubbornness
  4. Resource guarding
  5. Overexcitement
  6. Herding and nipping
  7. Separation anxiety

Now, let’s look at their possible causes and the best way to find a solution that works for everyone. 

As a side note, I will say that you should always consult a canine behaviorist to help with things like aggression. This is so that you don’t make mistakes and can approach the issues in a positive and impactful manner. 

1. Excessive barking

Corgis are naturally very vocal dogs. It’s part of who they are as herders. They like to use their voices! This can be made worse if they are bored or overexcited. And if you have neighbors (or appreciate a little quiet), this can become a problem. However, it’s not difficult to train them out of barking too much. 

One thing you can do to reduce the amount of barking is to ignore them completely when they bark. Especially if they are barking at you. Make sure you remain silent and avoid eye contact until they stop barking. When they are quiet and remain that way, give them a treat and praise them softly for their good work. Repeat the process until it’s instilled in them.

You can also use redirection when they bark excessively at things happening around them. This is where you calmly divert their attention to another activity (such as a toy or a game). Then you offer them a treat as a reward when they are quiet. If you keep doing this, you will find they remain calm during triggers, and you can relax a little more. 

Pro Tip: Yelling at them or telling them off will only make it worse. Trust me. 

How to deal with a food aggressive corgi

2. Aggression

Aggression is normally caused by a lack of socialization or poor training, and it can be daunting to tackle. Many dogs are aggressive because they’re afraid. If you’re feeling stressed, they’re probably feeling ten times worse. This aggression can be directed towards dogs or people, and both of these issues have solutions

With aggression towards other dogs, desensitization is the best route to take. This means taking your Corgi for a walk (on a close leash at all times) and walking them in an area with other dogs at a distance. Ignore them when they are reactive, and offer them praise and a treat when they ignore the other dogs. 

Eventually, you will be able to close the distance between you and the other dogs. But only once they’re able to walk right next to them without reacting. The important thing to remember is that this takes time. You’ll need to keep a slow and steady pace to avoid stressing your Corgi out.

Remember: never punish your dog for aggressive behavior. 

If your dog is nervous and aggressive around people, the same theory applies. You must keep your movements slow and predictable and speak in a calm and low tone. This helps prevent your Corgi from getting stressed and makes them feel relaxed and more comfortable in the space. 

Corgi behavioral problems
Sofia Shultz via Unsplash

3. Stubbornness 

Corgis are some of the most stubborn dogs you will ever meet, but that’s part of what makes them wonderful. However, it’s a behavior that you’ll want to work on and train out of them as much as possible. This will make life much easier for both of you. 

You have to make training sessions something that they look forward to and make them excited. This means using the really good treats and making training into a fun game that makes them use their heads. Remember: Corgis need a lot of mental stimulation! I would also recommend a lot of patience. Stubborn dogs will listen, but they need your respect for that to happen. 

How to stop a corgi nipping

4. Resource guarding

Resource guarding and food aggression come under the same umbrella here because the techniques are no different. And food is considered a resource. This usually happens when a dog hasn’t been taught boundaries about what belongs to them. You can compare them to a toddler who hasn’t been taught to share – angry and snatchy

One thing I do with every puppy I’ve ever owned is that once per mealtime, I pick up their bowl and pretend to eat from it before giving it back. This shows them that it’s okay for me to ‘take’ their food, and I do the same with their toys. I’ve never had a puppy grow up with food or resource-guarding issues as a result. But what about the older dogs? 

This problem can be trained out of them as well. You need to approach it calmly, but you can start by trading toys or treats in exchange for whatever resource they are guarding. Ideally, something they love even more than the thing they won’t let you go near. As long as you increase your distance and how long you are there over time, you’ll find they adjust easily

5. Overexcitement 

Corgis are herding dogs, as I have mentioned way too many times already. That means they get really excited when they haven’t had enough stimulation. All dogs get overexcited sometimes, but it becomes a behavioral problem when it’s constant and leads to them becoming destructive or even nippy. They’re smart dogs, they need a little extra. 

To quell your Corgi’s need to lead an excitement-fuelled life, you need to make them feel calm and relaxed. This means ensuring they are getting walked enough every day (yes, even in the rain) and giving them proper mental stimulation. This can include things like training sessions, puzzle games, or even hide and seek around the house. It really is that simple. 

Corgi behavioral problems
Brandon Cormier via Unsplash

6. Herding and nipping

We already know that it’s in your Corgi’s nature to herd and nip. That nipping is because of their instinct to herd everyone and everything! But this can become a problem if you don’t help them redirect their energy. People don’t actually like being herded constantly, and I can’t tell you how many times I have been tripped up by a Corgi that needs a little direction

First, any herding dog should be on a leash around livestock, no matter how well you train them. Not your livestock, not for your dog to herd. Secondly, preventing herding can be as simple as teaching commands such as ‘watch me’ or ‘leave it’. These commands redirect their attention when those tempting things to herd are nearby. 

Getting plenty of exercise will also leave them too tired to want to herd anything. And for Corgis that have even more energy than the average pup, you can enter them in sports such as flyball, agility, or even Treibball. This is a massive event that involves dogs herding a giant ball around a ring. It’s actually pretty good!

7. Separation anxiety

Corgis are dogs who form a very strong bond of attachment with their owners. They can often put most of their focus onto one member of the household (I find they are a lot like Spitz-type dogs in that manner). This can lead to separation anxiety, a behavior that can cause screaming fits and acts of mass destruction from your fluffy friend. 

To help prevent separation anxiety, or to stop it once it’s started, you need to work gradually. Start by leaving them alone for one minute and then going back in the house. Do this for a few days and increase it by a minute and another minute (you get the picture) until they are left alone for thirty minutes at a time without getting upset. 

Pro tip: Don’t give your Corgi attention when you return inside. Get in the house, take your shoes off, and go perform a very brief task before calmly saying hello to them. 

are corgis easy to train

Finding the Right Solution for Training Your Corgi

It is important to put a lot of the work in yourself when you’re training your Corgi. Your dog needs to have a strong bond with you as their owner, and you won’t achieve that if you leave it all to someone else. Your relationship with your dog is based on mutual respect. That’s why you take time out to practice and reinforce your training. 

Finding the right solution for any training issues you have can feel overwhelming. But I’m here to tell you that it’s simpler than you think. A dog trainer or behaviorist can be an affordable and reliable way to lay the foundations for new behaviors and help you work through the problems you’re having with your Corgi. 

They are there to guide you through the process and teach you correct and healthy methods for teaching your dog and eliminating bad habits and behaviors that you’re struggling with. Just remember to keep reinforcing it and taking that time to practice. You’ll soon find that these training solutions are highly effective.  

Training Tools to Avoid

There are training tools that should be avoided when trying to correct your Corgi’s behavior. The most notable of these is the shock collar, a tool that has actually been banned in many countries but remains a prevalent option in the US. As someone who has spent a long time training dogs and Corgis, I can say that these are not as effective as people might claim. 

They create a relationship with your dog that is based on fear, and that’s not what you want. Positive reinforcement training has been proven to be the most effective. That’s why I promote it so strongly. It might take a little time, but the results are a happy dog, a happy owner, and a sense of trust between you. 

Similarly, slip leads and choke chains should be avoided for similar reasons. You don’t want your Corgi to fear you; you want them to respect you. Aversive training methods won’t change their behavior – not in a way that’s long-term or effective, at least. I often call them an easy way out, and it’s something that benefits you, not your dog. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Corgis aggressive?

No, Corgis are not aggressive. Dogs are not typically born aggressive, but they can become aggressive as the result of poor training or socialization. This is why it is essential to socialize your dog from puppyhood and stick to a clear training regime that works. 

How do you stop a Corgi barking?

You can stop a Corgi barking by ignoring them and avoiding eye contact until they are quiet. Once they have stopped, offer them a treat and gentle praise. Repeat the process until they learn that they need to be quiet if you want attention. 

How do you stop a Corgi from jumping on people?

If you want to stop your Corgi from jumping on people, the most effective method is to turn your back and ignore them when they start to jump. Once they calm down, you can face them and say hello, but if they start to jump, turn back around silently. You’ll need to repeat it a few times, but once they get the picture and stop jumping, give them a treat to show them they did well. 

How do you stop a Corgi from being food-aggressive?

You can stop a Corgi from being food-aggressive by using treats or toys they love more than the food they are guarding as a form of trade. By doing this over time (and with a lot of patience), they will start to feel calmer and safer, leading them to stop guarding their food. 

Final Thoughts 

Your Corgi’s behavior is all about how you raise and train them, and we all struggle with that sometimes. The important thing is that you recognize the behavior is bad. Then do your best to fix it with the help of a trainer. Nipping, herding, aggression, and separation anxiety can feel challenging and overwhelming, but they don’t have to be. I hope this guide has been able to help you start on your training journey.

If you’re here because you’re considering adding a Corgi to your pack, I hope the information has shown you whether or not they’re a good fit for your family. They are fantastic dogs – you just have to make sure they’re getting what they need.

Bella is the founder of Doggy & Pooch. She rehomed Winston the corgi in Jan 2020 and now shares her best tips and interesting facts with corgi lovers globally.

2 thoughts on “7 Common Corgi Behavioral Problems & How to Solve Them”

  1. Thx Bella,
    I have 2 Corgis,brother and sister,
    7 months,
    They’re great but the boy has resource guarding issues on treats,and certain toys,that the sister is scared to death to approach because of past horrific,ferocious fighting /biting from him.When it dissipates they get back and love and play with each other./They eat fine from their food bowl, together and drink water together .
    It’s a work in progress,
    Thanks for your ideas,
    Ralph

    Reply
    • Thank you for your comment, Raplh! Have you been trying any of the tips above? I know that these things can take time… especially when dealing with puppies.
      Best wishes, Bella

      Reply

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